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Why we leave C. indica and C. sativa out of it

Our customer service team receives many calls each week from patients asking whether our CanniMed varieties are Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica.

One of the challenges when talking about C. sativa and C. indica, and using these names as identifiers is that there is no scientifically validated way or consensus to measure the proportion of each species type. DNA analysis research is being done, but it hasn’t been developed to the point of acceptable practical use. Emerging DNA sequencing data suggests species as a concept should be seen more as a dynamic spectrum than a group of strict categories.

Growers will often point to a plant’s physical features when drawing the line between C. sativa and C. indica. C. sativa plants are considered to be taller, with long thin leaf blades and a pale green colour. C. indica plants on the other hand are identified as shorter, with wider leaves, dense flowers, a dark green colour and high delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentrations.

These characteristics can be extremely variable, especially with hybrids and plants grown from seed. Two clones of the same plant can be manipulated to appear physically different when you change environmental controls. Soil composition, watering, lighting, temperature, fertilizing and ventilation can have an impact on the appearance of a cannabis plant, and even on its cannabinoid content.

At CanniMed all of our products are considered hybrids of these two debated plant species. CanniMed products have been bred over many years by our plant scientists from seeds not associated with the descriptive strain names used in dispensaries or on the street.

The physical characteristics of C. sativa or C. indica can be variable, biased and imprecise, which is why each of our CanniMed products are named based on the precise measure of the THC to cannabidiol (CBD) ratio, with no reference to C. sativa and C. indica proportions. This ratio guides how we present our products and we encourage patients and healthcare professionals to look to this precise measure when determining the best, most consistent dosage of medical marijuana.